Citizens Advertise Using Earthworms To Treat Covid-19, Health Officials Warn Against Practice

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Ministry of Health warns against using earthworms to treat Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic is a major threat in Vietnam right now. So far, the country has recorded 462,000 infections and 11,000 Covid-19-related deaths. Understandably, the people are concerned.

And as we Vietnamese have an idiom that roughly translates to, “when you’re sick, you look everywhere for a cure,” some citizens have started promoting the use of earthworms in treating Covid-19.

However, health officials have warned against this practice. Here’s why.

Citizens advertise that earthworms can help treat Covid-19

Image credit: Lac Dang

In traditional Eastern medicine, earthworms – also fancily referred to as “earth dragons” – are an ingredient believed to have the medical properties to help treat high fever, joint ache, numbness in limbs, and various other conditions.

Perhaps it is for this reason that some people have been advertising that earthworms can also help protect against Covid-19 symptoms. Recently, for instance, a well-known actress found herself in the center of controversies after she started promoting this practice.

As Tuổi Trẻ reported, on 16th August, this actress posted on her Facebook page, which has over 2 million followers, the story of a Covid-19 patient who allegedly tested negative for the virus after consuming earthworms for 5 days.

earthworms covid-19
An actress advertises using earthworms to treat Covid-19 on her Facebook page

Image adapted from Tuổi Trẻ

For credibility, the post mentioned this patient’s name, address, and phone number, but Tuổi Trẻ claimed that when they called this number, nobody answered the phone.

This story has since been deleted, but the actress continues to post several other claims of the health benefits of earthworms on her Facebook page, which have received mixed responses.

Some vouch for these claims. “I tried it and my fever actually went away,” one commenter wrote.

Image credit: Nguyễn Trang

“I’ve tried and found it effective. I was positive [for Covid-19], but after 10 days of using earthworms my test came back negative,” another agreed.

Image credit: Tiến Luôn Trần

Meanwhile, others are more skeptical, saying they’d only believe it if the poster shares a video of herself consuming the earthworms.

“I’d believe it only when the poster consumes earthworms herself.”

Image credit: Đỗ Mai

Ministry of Health warns against using earthworms to treat Covid-19

processed earthworms covid-19
Processed earthworms used in Eastern medicine

Image credit: Sức Khỏe & Đời Sống

The Ministry of Health has spoken up against using earthworms to treat Covid-19, saying that it has not received any scientific reports proving that this practice is effective.

“With the complicated developments of the Covid-19 Delta variant in Vietnam, some individuals have capitalized on citizens’ concerns about finding products that can help protect against the virus to post baseless, unverified, or inaccurate advertisements on social media, including the use of earthworms,” said Dr. Trần Minh Ngọc, Deputy Director-General of the Agency of Traditional Medicine Administration, as quoted in a report by the Ministry of Health.

health official warns against using earthworms to treat covid-19
Dr. Trần Minh Ngọc

Image credit: Ministry of Health

Therefore, to ensure safety, the Ministry warns that citizens should not use medical products according to unverified advertisements on the Internet.

Be careful with what you consume

Some might argue that even if earthworms can’t help treat Covid-19, they are a medical ingredient that has health benefits. But while it’s true that Eastern medicine has been using these worms for generations, they must be carefully processed to ensure hygiene.

We cannot rule out the fact that shady individuals will try to flood the market with fake or low-quality products to take advantage of gullible consumers.

So, if you’re feeling unwell, report to medical authorities to be treated, and stay away from unverified products on the Internet.

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Cover image adapted from Lac Dang and Ministry of Health

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